Lexus to Add Three-Row Crossover in 2016?

Lexus RX Seven Seater

Mark Rechtin of Automotive News recently spoke with Lexus USA general manager Jeff Bracken about adding a three-row seven-seat crossover to the Lexus lineup:

“Third-row seating is the No. 1 issue we hear from dealers,” Lexus Division chief Jeff Bracken said at the auto show here. “We feel like we’re missing a 35,000-units-a-year opportunity. We’re working hard to rectify that.”

“It could be any number of solutions,” Bracken said. “We could bring it to market in 2016 or 2017. If we can get it, that’s the priority. We won’t be bothered if it steps on RX. We want it.”

How a seven-seat crossover fits into the lineup is a puzzle — the newly introduced NX is 5.5 inches shorter than the current RX, but rear legroom and trunk space are near identical.

The next-generation RX will likely grow in both exterior size and interior space, but will Lexus transform their best-selling vehicle by adding a third row? Will Lexus offer the RX in both five-seat & seven seat configurations?

Replacing the GX with a new crossover model has been long rumored, but the Automotive News story throws some cold water on the idea:

Lexus has a seven-seat SUV — the GX 460 — but it is a body-on-frame SUV with a trucklike ride. There has been speculation that a car-based seven-seat crossover would reduce the need for the GX 460, but a Lexus source said the GX 460 is highly profitable for the automaker, even at low volumes.

Read the full Automotive News story (Text Mirror)